The wine-growing village of Flagey-Échezeaux lies in the " Plain ", so-called, between Vougeot and Vosne-Romanée in the Côte de Nuits. Facing east, the Grands-Échezeaux vines are a prolongation of Musigny following the North-South axis of the Côte, but more regular and less broken in their layout. At the bottom end, the " Climat " known as La Combe d'Orveau separates them from Musigny. The Échezeaux vineyards, for their part, divide the Clos de Vougeot from the Premier Cru vines of Vosne-Romanée.
Grands-Échezeaux and Échezeaux both date their Grands Crus AOCs from July 31, 1937. Like the Clos de Vougeot (from which they are separated only by a wall), they were founded by the monks of the abbey of Cîteaux and date from the 12th and 13th centuries. Their name derives from chesaux, a word of Gallo-Roman origin meaning a group of dwellings, presumably referring to an ancient hamlet.
Belonging geologically to the Jurassic (175 million years BC), the GrandsÉchezeaux vineyards are fairly homogeneous and lie close to the upper part of the Clos de Vougeot. Gradient: 3-4%. Soil: clay-limestone overlying Bajocien limestone. Altitudes: 250 metres. The Échezeaux Climats have more diverse soils (largely bajocien marls with pebbly overlay). Altitudes vary from 230 to a little over 300 metres (13% gradient at mid-slope). Up-slope, the soil is deep (70-80 cm). Gravels, red alluvium, yellowish marl, etc., make up quite a complex mosaic.
Red: its colour is ruby, shading towards the darker tones of magenta and purple. Its bouquet is redolent of animal, spice notes, underbrush, and prune, evolving with age towards musk, leather, fur and mushroom. When young, its aromas suggest rose, violet and fresh cherry. On the palate, there is a heightened attack and an agreeable balance between supple tannins and fully-rounded flavour. The dense texture and tight grain of these wines fully open after 4-5 years in the cellar.
Wines so powerful and full demand to be matched with dishes of the same calibre. Virile, four-sided tannins cry out for roast lamb, rib steak, or joints of game. Autumn and winter dishes in the right setting match the profound and meaty personality of these great wines : braised beef or pork, for example, or any other good red meat. Fine, whole-milk, soft-centred cheeses will also do them proud.
Serving temperature : 15 to 16 °C.
The free run wine and the press wine are then blended and left in vats to settle the lees, a process that takes close to ten days, before transferring the wines into barrel when they are as clear as possible, since the wines are rarely racked during the aging process. Clarification enzymes are used to hasten the process should the vintage require this step. The wines are put into barrel by gravity in the cellar.
The wines are aged in new oak: two different cooperages and three different forests. Malolactic fermentations begin naturally either before or after the first winter succeeding the harvest. The wines stay in barrel with the least number of rackings possible and with no additional sulphur until the racking preceding bottling.
This racking is done without pumping, the wines being pushed by air and blended (by appellation) in bottling vats, usually 13 to 15 months after harvest. The wines are then sulphured and left to rest for two to three months in tank. There is neither fining nor filtration before bottling.
Bottling is done by gravity with the help of a small bottling unit at the bottom of the tank. The bottles are corked with a corking machine enabling the air to be evacuated in the compression chamber. The corks are not placed in a large funnel but one by one in a column so that each cork can be verified so that the best end of the cork will come into contact with the wine.
The wines are then stocked in pallets and are shipped after at least two months of rest. Most of the wines leave the Domaine in wooden cases. Each bottle is wrapped in tissue paper and straw protectors (when authorized).